Workshop on “UNCTAD support to Arab countries towards meeting the new challenges emerging from the Multilateral Trading system (MTS)”

Workshop on “UNCTAD support to Arab countries towards meeting the new challenges emerging from the Multilateral Trading system (MTS)”
20 - 21 July 2024
Istanbul, Republic of Türkiye

The workshop will be organized by the Trading System and Creative Economy Branch (TSCE) of UNCTAD Division on international trade and Commodities (DITC), as part of the 13th Tranche of the UN Development Account Project (DA project) activities for 2024. Under the DA project, UNCTAD provided technical assistance to foster regional integration and the achievement of the SDGs in selected conflict and post-conflict Arab countries, with a particular focus on Iraq and the State of Palestine.

The main objective of the workshop is to provide an opportunity for trade officials, policy makers and experts from the Arab region to discuss and share experiences on trade policy matters, and on recent trade-related negotiations and outcomes at the regional and multilateral levels.

In this context, participants will share views on the implications of the 13th session of the WTO Ministerial Conference’s (MC13) outcomes, held from 26 February to 2 March 2024, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Arab countries’ trade policy frameworks and WTO accession processes. Emphasis will be put on the negotiating process and assessment of the results related to the so-called Joint Statement Initiatives (JSIs), taking place in the WTO. They will discuss the challenges for and prospects of the JSIs process on the multilateral trade rules; and how the JSIs would shape the future functioning of the MTS, embodied in the WTO, in a context of rapid and increased digitalization.

Also, in Istanbul, officials and experts are due to have a dialogue on how to strengthen the role and contribution of Arab countries to the Multilateral trading System (MTS). Out of 22 Arab countries officially forming the League of Arab Stares, only 13 among them are full WTO members. Seven others are currently in the accession process. The workshop will include presentations by officials from countries recently acceded providing lessons learned and negotiating strategies to facilitate the conclusion of outstanding Arab accessions. Arab countries have been engaging in regional and bilateral free trade agreements in the last decades. In this context, an overview on the main Arab FTAs will be presented, including recent and new initiatives to deepen intra-Arab trade and regional integration such as the Arab Agreement on Trade in Services Agreement.

UNCTAD will present its technical assistance activities and programmes to support the development of trade in the region. Representatives from participating countries will highlight their respective countries’ priority needs and discuss fund raising modalities, including resources mobilization strategy, involving bilateral and multilateral organizations and donors. It is expected that trade officials, policy makers and experts from Algeria, Comoros, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, the State of Palestine and the Arab Economic Integration Department of the League of Arab States Secretariat will take part in this workshop.

Sponsor / funding:
UN Development Project Account (DA) - 13th Tranche 2021-2024

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The Palestinian people The Palestinian people



Mr. Khairedine Ramoul 
Trading Systems, Services, and Creative Economy Branch (TSCE) 
Division on International Trade and Commodities , UNCTAD